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Before starting high school, students get a taste of medical profession at Camp Med

Students entering high school learn about the medical profession at CAMPMED on Thursday, July 21, 2016, at UNLV. [George Romero | News3LV]

It could be a typical summer class at UNLV, with science majors picking up a few extra credits.

But these students are still a few years away from their high school senior prom.

Camp Med, a 2 ½-day program for incoming ninth-graders who have expressed an interest in medicine, is part of Desert Meadows Area Health Education Center, a service of Vegas PBS.

“We're putting them with other bright individuals, building a positive peer group. Allowing them to realize it's OK to be smart,” said Dr. Ken Rosenthal, a professor with Roseman College of Medicine.

Antonio Ayala, 13, says sitting in a classroom at UNLV is a new experience. But he's ready for the challenge since dreaming of medical school since kindergarten.

“I'm glad I'm taking this instead of going outside and playing video games,” said Antonio, who will attend Rancho High School in the fall.

“If we attract just three students a year, that's better than we're doing now,” Dr. Rosenthal said. “And these are 50 bright individuals we have a chance of influencing.”

Before the camp is over, students will go on rounds with a physician mentor and be asked to diagnosis a pretend patient.

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